The head of Europe's biggest carmaker says the prospects for hydrogen vehicles are vanishing into thin air. Yes, when recently asked about fuel-cell technology, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said it's nearly impossible to build those vehicles at a "reasonable cost."

As Automotive News reports, VW will keep on conducting research into fuel cells, but the company's focus recently has been on ramping up a broadened line of hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. Earlier this month, VW unveiled the XL1 diesel plug-in car at the Geneva Motor Show. Volkswagen says that model will get a whopping 261 miles per gallon.

Automakers like Toyota, Honda and Hyundai are preparing to debut their first production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (albeit in small numbers) in 2015, and they're not the only ones. In late January, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, Ford and Nissan announced a partnership to develop a "common" fuel cell drivetrain for vehicles that will be introduced as soon as 2017. Daimler has long pushed fuel-cell technology and announced last June that it was working with the German Federal Ministry of Transportation and Linde at more than tripling Germany's hydrogen fueling stations to at least 50 in 2015, an increase from the 15 that were installed as of last year.

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